Miele: doubling down on expansion

By: Ruza Zivkusic-Aftasi


A leading global manufacturer of premium domestic appliances, Miele continues to grow with the opening of two new Australian warehouses, including the largest centre outside of its German headquarters

Miele: doubling down on expansion
Brisbane Airport Corporation CEO Gert-Jan De Graaff, Miele Australia managing directior ANZ Sjaak Brouwer and Brisbane Airport Corporation general manager commercial businesses John Tormey at the Brisbane site

 

Healthy growth in the Australian market has seen Miele Australia open two warehouse this year.

A 17,000 square-metre site at Eastern Creek in Sydney was opened in March following the opening of a 7,000 square-metre warehouse in Brisbane earlier this year.

The Sydney site features a state-of-the-art technical workshop, warehouse operational area and large clearance centre that will allow for the relocation and upgrade of Miele’s Rosehill warehouse in Sydney, which the company has outgrown.

The Brisbane warehouse has helped consolidate a number of Miele’s locations and services under one roof.

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Both warehouses mark continued growth for the established appliance brand, which is sold in more than 400 retail outlets across Australia and New Zealand.

With a fleet of 50 delivery vehicles that transport more than 10,000 kitchen and laundry appliances to customers, Miele expects its growth to double within the next decade.

Founded in 1899, Miele appliances are designed and engineered in Germany.

Miele’s head of logistics for Australia and New Zealand Mark Skrzypiec says steps have been taken to ensure the two warehouses live up to the brand.

"We’ve been given a great opportunity to expand our warehouses, refine their process and enhance our set up internally," Skrzypiec says.

"This will allow us to continue to build on our brand promise ‘Immer Besser – Forever Better’ and move closer towards ensuring faster delivery times for customers in metro areas."

Operations director for Australia and New Zealand Mark Bateson says healthy growth in the Australian market was a key driver for change.

"We sought greater capacity while simultaneously strengthening consumer experience and improving our operational efficiency," Bateson says.

Miele has leased its Sydney warehouse from property developer Mirvac which has worked closely to enhance the overall layout and design, ensuring continual improvement to operations and customer service.

Both warehouses will be servicing the general public via a technical workshop and clearance centre.

GETTING IT RIGHT

A 10-year view was applied to the planning process for the Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne redevelopments to allow for a substantial increase in throughput during that time.

Following the completion of its Knoxfield facility in Melbourne in 2016, Miele commenced planning the new distribution centres, Bateson explains.

This has allowed Miele to test the Knoxfield design and capitalise on the learning outcomes in a drive to further enhancements.

Miele has engaged Siecap Chain Advisory to revise the design parameters of the Sydney and Brisbane sites and to undertake a detailed evaluation of storage options and their associated economic costs.

The Siecap team had observed firsthand the level of utilisation at the Melbourne site and then digitally mapped the data using its custom design evaluation software.

Its consulting director, Geoffrey Knowles, says the aim was to tighten bay widths.

"We trialled different options with a clamp forklift to guarantee operational feasibility," Knowles says.

Sieacap also reviewed the positioning of forklifts and cross aisles for ease of flow and the placement of staff amenities to reduce unnecessary travel and downtime.

"Everyone who has worked in or managed a warehouse knows how annoying it is to have a pillar in the wrong place," Knowles says.

"We gave the developer an efficient block stacking layout around which they could wrap the building structure.

"We settled on high-density block stacking as the most cost-effective solution in terms of floor space and speed of put-away and retrieval."

The designed is 40 per cent more efficient than the next alternative of double deep pallet storage, he adds.

LESSONS

Rack supplier Stow Australia has helped install pallet racking, with the design for both new sites a non-standard configuration due to the Euro pallets used by Miele and Stow, ensuring Australian standards of design compliance were met.

National sales manager Martin Bates says Stow was proud to continue its relationship with Miele on the new Brisbane and Sydney distribution centres after the successful completion of Melbourne in 2016.

Siecap has examined the economics of varying building heights, with the difference between an eight-metre and a 10-metre ceiling height coming down to minimal increase in lease costs. Miele had selected the taller of the two options.

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By designing the most economical floorplan, storage density was increased by more than five percent over Miele’s Keysborough facility in Melbourne,

"It may sound a lot but every centimetre we can squeeze out of the space has an exponential cost saving for our clients, Knowles says.

"In strategically planning not one but three new distribution centres, Miele and Siecap collaborated to keep the right design considerations front and centre from the outset."

Siecap had reviewed the layout of the first facility and through a process of operational observation and on-ground simulation using a storeman and a forklift, it determined that the floor storage grid could be enhanced, Knowles adds.

It took three years to construct the three sites.

Siecap was put to task thanks to its established relationship with Miele’s head of logistics, who had previously worked for another company.

"When the client moved to Miele, he looked to re-engage us, so we’ve had a long-term relationship," Knowles says.

"They wanted to prove their concept and develop a strategy with a 10-year view for growth, so what we tested was business growth propositions and escalated best staffing, which was a base line of 2017.

"There will be an increase in sales of these appliances in Australia over the next 10 years due to population growth.

"There will also be a shift of sales from competitor products to theirs because it’s a better product – a leading manufacturer of appliances and a change of population demographics to smaller households will result in more properties."

FLEET

The Sydney site has four grade docks and eight container docks, whilst the Brisbane site has 11 in total. Each site has up to 15 employees.

The Knoxfield and Sydney sites’ storage is around 15,000 cubic metres, with the Brisbane site made up of 11,000 cubic metres.

There are up to 15 Linde forklifts at each site – selected due to their ergonomics and reliability.

Up to 1,100 products are handled and stored across each site.

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"Miele operates their own distribution of trucks. They came to us and said they anticipate they will service certain postcodes in the inner city so they needed a vehicle fleet in line with what the service needed," Knowles says.

"We then designed the building with enough doors to load based on the level of activity in terms of how many vehicle movements per day there are."

The Sydney site cost $18 million to build, with the Brisbane site worth $15 million.

A SAP software system is used across the warehouse platform.

"We have programmed certain algorithms that we can use as a standard it allows us to quickly model different operating scenarios, so it makes us able to evaluate process and bodies of data very efficiently, which saves time," Knowles adds.

"Other than that, it’s a fairly simple operation if terms of outside forklifts, there’s no other form of automation as the business doesn’t require it."

Knowles says it’s a privilege to work with Miele considering how efficient its distribution is.

"We always find it very complimentary that we are asked to work with some of the world’s leading brands, so when you get a brand such as Miele with such high standards it’s an absolute privilege to be able to work with them."

 

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